Conferences urge stopgap for NCAA on NIL until federal law

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The NCAA is set to consider on Tuesday how to proceed with reforming rules that currently prohibit college athletes from earning money off their fame, the day after the association was dealt an emphatic loss by the Supreme Court.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has urged membership to forward on a proposal that has been stalled for months and said he would take executive action if it remained stuck.

Six Division I conferences, including the SEC, ACC and Pac-12, have put forth an alternative stopgap measure that cuts out the NCAA and allows athletes to be compensated for name, image and likeness before a federal law is passed.

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in an athlete compensation case not related to NIL makes finding an NIL solution more complicated for the NCAA, Emmert said Monday. The Supreme Court loss means the NCAA is still exposed to further legal attacks, but Emmert insisted it is the association’s responsibility to put forth a solution.

“And I believe that the rest of the membership will agree,” Emmert told The Associated Press. ” “Whether that means we’re going to pass or can pass a full new set of rules or do something temporarily in the meantime is less important to me than the fact that we’re going to be able to provide students with an opportunity to pursue NIL opportunities.”

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press and sent to the head of the Division I Council last week, commissioners from six conferences recommended the council refrain from adopting the proposed NIL reforms when it is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday.

Emmert also sent a memo to the association’s member schools Friday, pushing for an NIL solution before the end of the month when six state laws go into effect. Asked what he thought of the commissioners’ alternative, Emmert steered back to the big picture.

“We need a solution that’s going to be as fair and equitable as possible, that mitigates as much misbehavior around booster involvement and or recruiting inducements as we possibly can,” he said. “And we now are going to spend this week determining exactly what that looks like.”

The NCAA has asked Congress for a federal NIL law that would preempt state laws and help provide a uniform standard for its more than 1,100 member schools. But lawmakers in Washington are not close to passing a bill.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott wrote in the letter to the Division I Council that the NCAA’s broad NIL proposal would be vulnerable to legal challenges and would invalid in states with their own laws.

The commissioners for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Sun Belt Conference and Southwestern Athletic Conference also signed the letter to Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun, who is chairwoman of the council.

They also sent a proposed alternative to the NCAA’s current NIL proposal that would go into effect July 1 if adopted. That proposal was obtained by the AP.

The proposal would allow athletes in states with NIL laws to follow those laws when they go into effect. Schools in states without NIL laws would adopt their own policies that would permit athletes to be paid by third parties – but not by boosters of a school — for things like endorsement deals, personal appearances and sponsored social media posts.

Those policies would be used until a federal law is passed.

The NCAA’s proposed NIL reform legislation was scheduled to be voted on in January, but that was delayed because of questions raised by the Department of Justice about potential conflicts with antitrust laws.

There was also some support within college sports for holding off on NIL rules until after the Supreme Court delivered its decision.

Sports law attorney Darren Heitner, who helped craft Florida’s NIL law, said Monday’s Supreme Court decision bolsters that case for an NIL solution in which the NCAA is more hands-off.

“It provides more power to those conference commissioners who suggested that the power be provided to the individual schools as opposed to adopting the legislation that’s been on the table for quite some time,” Heitner said.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.